at 1,000 feet


At 1,000 feet above sea level, Buxton is England’s highest market town.  It means we get very cold, usually very snowy winters and summer days that are far cooler than an Aussie winter day!  It also makes gardening here pretty challenging.  In 1975 there was a freak snowstorm that stopped the local cricket match – and I guess it probably ruined that years allotment crops too!

Which makes a sunny, warm day here all the more precious.  This morning I woke to a blue sky and no heating – a morning above 10C degrees, rare and totally brilliant.

So in my garden today I have enjoyed lots.  Most amazing was watching 5 enormous dragonflies emerge from my pond, change colour and dry their new wings.  So totally wonderful that I had all the neighbouring kids over for a look!


I planted out my beans – first time ever sowing dwarf beans…. a bit of a fingers-crossed job.  I marvelled at the total gorgeousness of the biggest peony flower I have ever seen in my garden.   And I enjoyed a really good coffee while sitting and contemplating life and listening to the robin singing.

I may not get sunshine tomorrow, but I have totally enjoyed the stunner I’ve had today.


i love my cushion

Quilt Cushion 2

My lovely step-sons gave me the world’s best Christmas present this year – a workshop with the very talented Jane Brocket, talking about quilting and colour and travel and all sorts of things.  The ladies at Raystitch in Islington provided a gorgeous lunch and lots of tea and biscuits and beautiful fabrics.  Along with my gorgeous workshop came a weekend of babysitting – the boys scheduled childcare so I was a non-mummy and could please myself for the entire weekend.  I came home very invigorated and full of enthusiasm for all sorts of things, quilting especially!

I started sewing about 18 months back as I needed a “mind relaxant” during the very cold, snowy Buxton winters.  I bought myself a ‘starter’ machine, and since then have spent many a wonderful hour creating cushions and curtains and the odd dress or skirt.  I have always wanted to make a quilt, using beautiful colourful fabrics, but was never quite sure where to start.  Jane has written a few books on quilting and I was wowed by her choices…. so I was luckly to learn some tips from the best!

My cushion cover started with a brown fabric, which I didn’t like at all (I was encouraged to choose what I don’t like and still create something gorgeous) and from there it grew into the beautiful thing it is with the help of Jane and just picking fabrics from her great stash and trying lots of different options.  Every square is 3.5″ and the sewing isn’t absolutely perfect..  but I think it looks really gorgeous.  My yellow climbing rose sets off the cushion just beautifully!

Now I’m onto the big one…. a quilt for my mum’s birthday.  Will force myself past my ‘fabric cutting anxiety’ and make a start tomorrow!


a little cup of flowers

Cup Vase 2

Living with a child who has suffered extensive childhood trauma is really, really challenging.  Before my daughter was adopted I read extensively about the effects of trauma and I thought I was well prepared to manage the behaviours caused by it.  I was so excited to have our little girl, and I though that the love she got from me, and her forever family, would be enough.  Love was a good start, but it certainly was never going to be enough.

I discovered pretty fast that not only did I know very little, but that knowing about trauma, and living with it on a daily basis, are very different beasts.  I was incredibly ill-equipped to handle the massive stresses that life involved.  Trauma has a terrible way of invading your home.  It made living difficult, every day.  As my emotions were battered, I found myself closing down, well and truly overtaken by a frightened 5 year old.

My daughter brings many things to our family, including a great joy for life, for singing and laughing, she has enormous amounts of kindness and caring.  She has moments of absolute joy, which are beautiful to see.

Trauma never goes away, but we learn to live with it.  I have learnt that small joys, lived and loved every day, make my life, and me, happier.  These small joys that my grandmas held dear now help me to live a more balanced life.  And so today I created a wildflower posy.  My posy sits in a beautiful teacup, gifted to me by grandma Nell.